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The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection: a Handbook

Hand specimen picture panel
Thin section picture panel


Appendix 1: Keywords and Definitions
Appendix 2: Physical Layout of Sherds Housed in the NRFRC


Huntcliff Calcite-gritted ware (HUN CG)

Two samples

The type is defined by the invariable association between its distinctive cooking pot form (‘Huntcliff type’) with a pronounced shoulder, down-turned hooked rim, and internal lid-seating groove (Gillam type 163) in a calcite-gritted fabric.

General appearance

This fabric may be dark grey (3/0), dark brown (10YR 6/2) or more usually black. It is hard with a hackly fracture and harsh feel. The external surfaces are usually smoothed and knife trimmed near the base. A series of poorly executed parallel grooves on the shoulder are characteristic (J Evans, pers comm).

Hand specimen

The inclusions are ill sorted, with abundant angular grains of calcite (0.5–5.0mm) dominating. Quartz varies from sample to sample, as sparse to common, mostly measuring between 0.2–1.0mm, while black iron-rich grains (0.2–0.5mm) are always sparse.

Thin section

A clean clay matrix containing sparse silt and ill-sorted common quartz (sometimes polycrystalline and iron rimmed) measuring c 0.1–0.3mm is visible. The fabric is characterised by abundant ill-sorted calcite inclusions, frequently 0.3–1.0mm but ranging between 0.5–2.5mm. Opaques and glauconitic pellets also occur regularly, c 0.3mm but occasionally to 0.6mm. Finally, sparse or rare limestone and flint can be identified.


No kilns are known, but an east Yorkshire source is indicated on distributional grounds and is in keeping with the calcite inclusions present in the fabric.


York Archaeological Trust


Corbridge Roman Site Museum; Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle upon Tyne; Scunthorpe Museum and Art Gallery; Arbeia Roman Fort Museum, South Shields; Yorkshire Museum, York


Dore, J, & Gillam, J P, 1979 The Roman fort at South Shields, excavations 1875–1975, Soc Antiq Newcastle upon Tyne Monogr 1

Evans, J, 1986 Aspects of later Roman pottery assemblages in northern England, Unpublished PhD, University of Bradford

Gillam, J P, 1970 Types of Roman coarse pottery vessels in northern Britain (3rd ed)

Hull, M R, 1932 The pottery from the Roman signal stations on the Yorkshire coast, Archaeol J 89, 220–53

Monaghan, J, 1997 Roman pottery from York, Archaeology of York. The Pottery 16/8
Plate 167: Fresh sherd break of HUN CG (width of field 24 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 167: Fresh sherd break of HUN CG (width of field 24 mm)

Plate 167.1: Photomicrograph of HUN CG (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm). Click to see a larger version

Plate 167.1: Photomicrograph of HUN CG (XPL) (width of field 1.74 mm)

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